Archive for August, 2012
As you know, there are two media managers for Plex today: the OS X-only one, which is pretty fast and stylish, but showing its age, and the web-based one, which is very functional, but has some glaring issues (the technology behind it just wasn’t productive or performant enough for our needs). We evaluated a bunch of different options, and settled on a Bootstrap-based web application.
We had some lofty goals for this new app: First of all, it had to be fast, even with huge sections. Like, much faster than even the old OS X manager. Secondly, why stop at management? We wanted you to have the ability to play music, watch videos, and view photos, right in your browser. In addition, why not have the ability to manage and view channels in the same interface? And what about powerful new ways to slice and dice your media library? And by God, it had to work well on mobile devices too, and across browsers.
In short, this new web client is the most powerful Plex client around. Is it done? Nope, but it’s close enough that we wanted to share it with our PlexPass members. Let’s take a quick tour.
Isn’t that a work of beauty? This is the dashboard view, where you can see all your library sections, recently used channels, your myPlex queue and recommendations (oh, right, did I mention it connects to myPlex?). This thing will knock the socks off your cat.
This is the browse view in one of my movie sections. Pay close attention to the rich filters & sorting area on the right hand side. Lets find all the sports movies in the last three years and sort by rating. A few clicks later, we have our answer. Looks like I’ll be watching Moneyball and not Goon.
One click and I’m in the details screen for the movie:
And time to watch!
There’s much more, but that should give you a taste for it. If you’re interested in more of the philosophy and details behind the app, we even threw together a “podcast” style interview with two of the key developers, Eric and Schuyler, being interviewed by our own Tobias. Download the conversation here.
The new Plex web client is available right now in beta form for all PlexPass members (if you want to sign up, visit this page). THE NEW MEDIA SERVER IS REQUIRED. We hope to gather some excellent feedback as we finish up the first release. Once we’re done with the remaining work, it’ll be available, for free, for everyone to enjoy before too long.
(And remember, if you don’t want to sign up for PlexPass, it’s totally optional. It’s designed for the most Plex-obsessed of you, in an attempt to get you cool new stuff earlier than we otherwise would, and bring you into the conversation.)
The new Web Client is included with the latest media server release described in Part 1. In order to access it, simply hit http://x.x.x.x:32400/web or hit the Web Client links from your server page on myPlex.
(If you haven’t already, get the latest media server we released in Part 1)
I just went back and checked, and the first entry on this blog was written over four and a half years ago. Has it really been that long? We were just barely getting video playback working, and there was no media server, iOS app (heck, there wasn’t even an App Store for iPhones yet!) or any of the other parts that make Plex what it is today.
Over the years, many of you have supported Plex in different ways; you’ve contributed bandwidth, time and knowledge in the forums, and you’ve donated repeatedly and generously. And we truly appreciate it! Up until now, though, we haven’t had any means of distinguishing the die-hard Plex supporters from the more casual users.
Today, that’s changing.
We’re excited to unveil PlexPass – our brand new offering. As a PlexPass member, you’ll get a number of benefits:
1) First of all, PlexPass gets you early access to new features. We’ll be making select new features available to PlexPass members earlier than we otherwise would, and you’ll get to play with them and give us feedback and suggestions. Make your friends jealous. (And yes, we have a juicy new feature to get this kicked off in style.)
2) We’re going to be introducing some premium features. Fancy, shiny things with lots of sparkle (and not the sort that comes with fangs and neck affinity). As a PlexPass member, you’ll get free access to those features while we’re testing them out.
3) PlexPass members automatically get access to private forums for discussing these new features. There’s another forum for voting on bugs & features to help us with prioritization. And there is another one we’re calling for people needing a bit of extra help with issues they may be running into. Hey, you’re a PlexPass member – we’ll give you some extra love!
4) Last, but not least, PlexPass members get discounts on premium features once they’re made available to the general public.
What if you don’t want to sign up for PlexPass? Well, life continues on much like it has. You’ll still get new features when we release to the general public (except for premium features, of course). This is our way of being extra awesome to the PlexPass members, not less awesome to the rest of you.
In summary, PlexPass members get the best possible Plex experience, above and beyond what was previously possible. You get to show off to your non-PlexPass friends a bunch of cool new stuff before it’s generally available, and hey, we’ll even badge your forum posts with the tasty Alexis-designed badge above so that everyone can see you’re a member. And with your support, and your early input and feedback on new features, we can build a better Plex together!
As for the cost, PlexPass is just $3.99/month. I hear it’s sort of passé to compare this with a cup of coffee, so I’ll just note that this is way cheaper than a good microbrew at your favorite watering hole. After tipping the goateed waiter who’s working on that screenplay. You can sign up here, once you’ve signed into your myPlex account.
So what of this tasty new PlexPass-only (for now) feature we’re rolling out today? That’s detailed in the next post.
Just in case you were wondering, Barkley is a proud PlexPass member.
OK, we have a bit of a trilogy for you. A trinity of blog posts, if you will…
This is the first part, in which we release a new version of the Plex Media Server, fixing a number of issues, and adding a few tasty nuggets.
- NEW: Support for [big surprise] (explained in part 2).
- NEW: Mega-awesome [big surprise] (shown off in part 3).
- NEW: Added new (advanced) preferences for enabling/disabling Bonjour/GDM.
- NEW: (API) Support for JSON in non-channel endpoints.
- NEW: (API) WebSocket support for sending events to clients.
- FIX: Plex Media Scanner would occasionally crash on exit.
- FIX: Large reduction in memory/threads usage.
- FIX: Fix for missing posters when top agent failed.
- FIX: MP4 files with chapter tracks were analyzed as having subtitles.
- FIX: Some files (mostly WMV3) could fail to get framerate analyzed.
- FIX: Make sure photo agents get hit to refresh when scanning.
- FIX: Always send myPlex username when doing network logging.
- FIX: (Windows) Crash when analyzing some TS files.
- FIX: Be more lenient when parsing URIs which end in & or ?.
- FIX: (DLNA) Minor fix to Samsung profile.
- FIX: (Windows) Transcoder can handle RTMP now.
- FIX: (Linux) ReadyNAS ARM builds working again.
- FIX: (API) Fixes to preference serialization.
- FIX: (API) Fix for paging where some items were (partially) missing (and 10% speedup).
- FIX: (API) Signing into myPlex with ‘+’ signs in email/password was broken.
All this time, while we were working hard, Barkley was enjoying our new living room chair. We just sold our couch, so there’s literally nowhere to sit except for this chair, and he’s claimed it.